Connect with us

Articles

Ordinary Miracles

Published

on

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone

At some point in our lives, most of us experience a defining moment. Like the climax to a movie, it’s an event or conversation from which life after that is measured. Sometimes, we even get more than one.

The first one I remember came during a weekend retreat with my family. I was suffering from church-kid syndrome. I had grown indifferent to my faith — indifferent but not exactly unbelieving. When I realized the problem, I altered my behavior in order to move closer to God. I shut out ungodly influences. And I worked on my terrible attitude towards my algebra teacher, which played out in thoughts of I hate word problems, and therefore, you.

Finally, after months of attempting to move closer to God, I realized that I had. I was washing my hair in the shower and the feeling overwhelmed me like the blast of water that rinsed my shampoo: I was happy. Completely, overwhelmingly thrilled that I had been saved by God and was on the narrow path of serving Him. It was my defining moment. The big memorable event in the movie called the climax.

I think because of that moment, and events similar to it, I came to expect all of my emotional breakthroughs to appear with that same immediacy. They haven’t.

Life is often a series of stressful events. They can be obvious and dramatic, such as a death in the family, but more often they are small. They come with little children and big bills and nagging colds and broken appliances. They pile one after the other onto my soul until I know without hesitation, I need a breakthrough. I need relief from the feeling that all of these little things are suffocating anything that resembled a biblical outlook on life.

So I ask for it: God, I need an emotional breakthrough. And He always comes through for me just as He did the first time I reached for Him. He tells me in the Bible that He will. "Which of you, if your child asks for bread, will give him a stone?" Jesus asks in Matthew 7:9. Two verses earlier, I’m told to "ask, and it will be given to you."

This is not just a biblical theory. I’ve proven Him over and over in my life, and sometimes the breakthrough is as sudden and relieving as one very intense visit with Him and the sense of peace that follows. Far more often, though, it’s not. Usually when I ask for the breakthrough, it trickles in one reassuring moment after another until I am through it.

The problem with always expecting the huge, defining moment, is that after I experience one, I’m sometimes left to wonder, "What now?"

When I had my first child, I actually said, "If I never do anything else in my life, I will have been great because of him." I felt completely done with the struggle to become someone important in this life. I felt content and fully satisfied. But what happened then? He became an infant and then a toddler. I still had so much left to do. I love to remember that moment when he was born and the way that I felt, but the greatest miracle was the decision that followed each and every day after that to rear him the best that I knew how in my faith and beliefs about life.

Possibly the largest compression of stressors came for me a couple of years after that moment in the hospital with my first child. In that year, I had a second child as well. A two-year-old boy and his baby brother, a tiny apartment, an income barely large enough for our needs, and the anxious uncertainty about what I had become. Was this it? I no longer had plans any more advanced than lunch and naptime. I had no dreams beyond the hope that both my sons would nap at the same time and give me two minutes to myself. I loved them, adored them even. But I felt completely lost inside the world of diapers and tears and pacifiers. I
needed a breakthrough.

And this time it didn’t come like the climax in a movie. I didn’t wake up one day with all the answers, get through the entire afternoon without regurgitated milk on my shoulder, keep the house clear of toddler clutter all day, and rediscover my identity by the quiet, peaceful evening. I voiced my troubles to a friend — and in those days that was pretty much the closest I came to having an actual conversation with God — but I didn’t receive immediate relief.

My friend came through for me, though, and I believe that was God’s first small gift towards my breakthrough. My friend related. She too had been there, wondering where she fit in the whole of society now that her only real admirers were barely beyond board books in their communication. Her children were slightly older than mine and she was further in the
process. It gave me hope.

The next gift came from a book by Ruth Bell Graham. Over and over she wrote of her own life with small children. Hers was often alone while her husband traveled with his ministry. She wrote poetry in those days thanking God for "small things." She discovered ways to find Him, and she rose above the clutter. I copied her quotations into my journal one evening when the toddler had long since been bathed and the baby slept peacefully in his swing. I read them over again for several days. I started thanking God for my own small things.

Then my mother, as in every stage of my life, also helped. She wrote out easy meal plans for me, gave me tips for keeping peace in the living room, and constantly gushed over my children and the joy I must feel every time I glanced at them.

Everywhere I turned, my breakthrough was edging its way through the soul clutter to
relieve me.

I still ask God for the giant breakthroughs. I still believe in miracles, and they often happen suddenly. But more often, I simply recognize my need, and then I open my eyes every
single day, hoping and expecting the moments of breakthrough to come. I look for them in my friends, convinced that at any given moment one of them might have just the encouragement I need. I look for them in my reading and in music, confident that God has spoken to me many times through these before and that He always will.

I think because we are inundated with story — through movies, books, and even prime time specials — perhaps we rely too much on the big, dramatic events that define us instead of accepting the small, consistent flow of life that draws us to God through each ordinary
moment. We need the patience to receive these gifts as they come and to sustain the strength they give us until the next gift should appear.

I know that when I recognize my need for a breakthrough now, I look for it to arrive in
pieces. And as with my first dramatic experience with God, I move towards it—knowing eventually I will look back and realize the breakthrough came.

Serenity Bohon delivered her third healthy son seven months after being diagnosed with a rare, aggressive cancer. She is currently cancer-free, and her three sons are her greatest joy. She lives with her husband in small town in Missouri, and works from home for a medical transcription company. Beyond the day job, she loves most to capture in words the chaos of this beautiful life. For more information, visit Serenity Now.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone

Serenity Bohon delivered her third healthy son seven months after being diagnosed with a rare, aggressive cancer. She is currently cancer-free, and her three sons are her greatest joy. She lives with her husband in small town in Missouri, and works from home for a medical transcription company. Beyond the day job, she loves most to capture in words the chaos of this beautiful life. For more information, visit Serenity Now.

Click to comment

Articles

When Doing Justly, Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly Stand at Odds

If your compassion far exceeds your capacity, here’s one way you can be sure to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.

Published

on

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone

One of my life verses is Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

It is one of my favorite verses because my heart has been so moved by the love Jesus has for me and the sacrifice He made for me that I am grateful to have a way to express my gratitude through acts of justice and mercy while walking humbly with God.

I have found at times, however, the call to do justice and love mercy come in conflict with the call to walk humbly with God. For me, one of the ways to walk humbly with God is to recognize my limitations. I have to put skin to the fact that I am not God which means saying, “no” to ministry requests. It means going to sleep when I could be spending time advocating for the harrowed and helpless in the world. It means limited seats at my table, limited funds in my bank account, and limited energy in my body cannot be ignored but respected and adhered to.

This is hard for me at times, especially when I scroll my Facebook feed and see friends who are caring for their really sick children, spouse, or other family member all while millions of refugees flee war torn countries and babies are slaughtered by the hundreds each day in our country through the abortion industry.

As I scroll, I receive texts about one family member’s surgery gone wrong and another family member announcing a new baby is on the way. I have in mind my neighbor who has inpatient surgery scheduled this week and another neighbor who is trying to hold down a full-time job, care for twins all while battling profound “morning” sickness.

Folks at church are fighting for their lives in physical and spiritual ways, and strangers who pass me on the road are clearly battling something as demonstrated by their impatient honking because I won’t take a right turn on red. I want to meet the needs of all; I want to do justice and love mercy, but I’m daily confronted by the fact that I am so limited.

What am I to do when doing justly and/or loving mercy seem to come in conflict with walking humbly with my God?

God keeps bringing me to this answer: prayer.

God invites us to cast our cares before Him because He cares for us.
God tells us to be anxious for nothing BUT WITH PRAYER present our requests before Him.
God commands us to pray without ceasing.

And, when I walk humbly with God, I see the immense kindness in His command.
He gives us a way to do justly, love mercy WHILE walking humbly with Him.
It is by praying without ceasing.

I cannot take a meal or give money to every sick person or family I know. I cannot extend kindness to all my neighbors all at the same time they’re in need nor conjure up sustainable solutions for the refugee crisis and contact all the necessary world powers to make it happen.

I cannot heal all, but I know the Healer.

I cannot provide for all the needs, but I know the Provider.

I cannot rescue everyone in need, but I know the Rescuer.

I cannot comfort all the broken, but I know the Comforter.

I cannot speak peace over every situation, but I know the Prince of Peace.

I cannot be all to all, but I can go to the Great I Am through prayer, lay all the people, problems and pleas for help before the Omniscient and Omnipresent God of all Creation.

I can do this through prayer.

Recently, via an Instagram contest of all things, I came upon A–Z prayer cards designed by blogger/author/speaker, Amelia Rhodes. It is a simple concept packed with a powerful prayer punch. It has served me personally in this tension of wanting to do far more than I practically can do. It provides prayer prompts starting with each letter of the alphabet along with a scripture that coincides with the prayer focus. It ranges from Adoption to a creative “Zero Prejudice” for the letter “Z.”

The cards are well thought out, color printed on sturdy cardstock with blank lines for the user to write in the names of people and/or organizations that are personal to them.

If, like me, your compassion far exceeds your capacity, pick up a set of these prayer cards and unload your burdens onto a God whose competence matches His kindness, both boundless.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone
Continue Reading

Articles

Facing Our Fears in Motherhood

Do you have fears tied to motherhood? If so, here’s encouragement for you.

Published

on

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone

“Are you scared?”

I was taken aback by his question. Scared? Of what?

“Of anything,” he answered.

I had just shared my due date with a new class of trainees.

“He has three boys,” another new hire volunteered. So fear is to be expected, I reasoned. I’m just about to face the most frightening experience in my life.

Of course I was scared.

I was scared…

  • I’ll lose my temper.
  • I’ll whine about sleepless nights.
  • I’ll breastfeed too often or not often enough.
  • I’ll leave piles of unfolded onesies in the middle of the nursery floor because I’m too tired (or lazy?) to fold teeny-tiny baby clothes for the upteenth time.
  • I’ll go with disposable diapers when the better choice would be cloth.
  • I’ll work too many long hours at the office and miss precious moments with her.
  • I’ll sign her up for too many activities and push her to become Miss Achieve-It-All.
  • I’ll pass on to her my ugly pride, self-righteousness, and perfectionism like a dreadful contagious disease.
  • I’ll miss countless little joys in life while pursuing worthless dreams.

Facing Our Fears in MotherhoodIn short… I was afraid I was going to fail miserably as a parent.

And now, holding my second-born daughter in my arms, thinking back on that brief exchange just a few years ago, I realize those fears were well-founded. I’ve failed many times. I’ve lost my temper. I’ve raised my voice. I’ve worked too much and played too little. I’ve seen my own sinfulness reflected in my daughter.

Yes, I’ve failed, but over and above it all, God’s grace has covered my parenting imperfections and made me run to the cross day after day. The writer of Proverbs puts it this way:

Whoever fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.
Proverbs 14:26

When it comes to fears, we have two choices: Will we fear the unknown or will we fear the Lord? Will we allow the uncertain to grip us in its clutch or will we turn to God’s Truth to set us free?

Scared? Oh yeah. There was so much to be scared of that day. And even now, if I’m completely honest, there are still fears nibbling at the edges of my consciousness. Fear that we won’t outgrow the temper tantrums. Fear that the two girls won’t get along. Fear that I’ll mess them up and cause them interminable hours on a psychologist’s couch.

I’m sure you have fears, too.

But rather than allow those fears to consume and paralyze us, we can take them to the Lord, acknowledging His sovereignty over our parenting, pleading His grace over our mistakes, and entrusting His provision over their futures. He is not only able to handle it all — He is far more capable to be trusted with it all.

If I say one thing to that frightened 9-month-pregnant me standing in that room years ago, I would say this: Don’t let fear rob today’s joy with tomorrow’s unknowns. Each day has enough worries of its own (Matthew 6:34).

Instead, let us keep seeking God, running to Him as our secure fortress and resting in the knowledge that He will care for us and our children one day at a time.

What are you scared of today? Name your fears and bring them to the Lord, allowing Him to replace them with His peace that passes all understanding.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone
Continue Reading

Articles

He Gives Shade To The Weary

If anxiety is a struggle for you right now, remember that He gives shade to the weary.

Published

on

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone

Do you ever have those moments of fear because you don’t know what lies ahead? When do those thoughts tend to happen to you?

For me, most of those thoughts happen when I lay my head down to sleep at night. The vulnerability comes forth every time. That’s what happened the other night to me. I shut my eyes and immediately anxiety welled up inside me.

What if we don’t succeed in this new venture? What if we have to move? What if we can’t pay our bills?

I laid there with the covers drawn tight over my head (I still think that I am safer if the covers are over my head), praying scripture over my anxious heart. Assuring myself that God sees me and that He cares.

In the morning, I turned to Isaiah 41, specifically verses 10-20.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10, NASB)

Yesterday, the “what if’s” piled up as I anxiously looked about me. My daughter needs tutoring, however at this point in life, tutoring feels like a luxury we can’t afford. So I listed some items online to sell hoping to make just enough to cover the tutoring. I’m buying groceries on a Visa reward card. I’m holding my breath until the next paycheck comes. But what did God speak over me: Do not fear. Do not look anxiously about you.

“For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’ Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel; I will help you,” declares the Lord, “and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:13-14 NASB)

Why shouldn’t I be anxious? Because God will hold me up. God will help me. When I first read the word “worm” as a description, I took it as a slam against Israel. Like, gesh, God. What animal does He relate me to? But through further study, He calls them a worm because worms are helpless. They are viewed as insignificant, despised and weak. God will help me — seemingly insignificant, helpless me — because He is my Redeemer. He is my go’el — my next of kin. The Redeemer is the one who provides for all my needs. Rent. Car payment. Credit card bill. Gas. Food. Clothes. Debt. God will redeem.

He Gives Shade to the Weary

“Behold, I have made you a new, sharp threshing sledge with double edges; You will thresh the mountains and pulverize them, And will make the hills like chaff. You will winnow them, and the wind will carry them away, And the storm will scatter them; But you will rejoice in the Lord, You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:15-16 NASB).

God is transforming me from a helpless one to a powerful one. The description of that type of threshing sledge is like a modern day earth mover. Powerful. Strong. Immovable.

“The afflicted and needy are seeking water, but there is none, And their tongue is parched with thirst; I, the Lord, will answer them Myself, As the God of Israel I will not forsake them.” (Isaiah 41:17, NASB)

He will come to our rescue. God, Himself, will answer you and me. Can you hear how personal that sounds? Have you ever pleaded with someone important whether your boss, public figure, or even a parent, and they responded to the need themselves? You expected for them to send their assistant, but instead they — the most important one — responded to you.

“I will open rivers on the bare heights And springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water And the dry land fountains of water. I will put the cedar in the wilderness, The acacia and the myrtle and the olive tree; I will place the juniper in the desert Together with the box tree and the cypress.” (Isaiah 41:18-19, NASB)

This passage describes the wilderness-like times in life. You are barren. You are thirsty. You are hot. You are in need. God will provide what you need. God will quench your thirst. He will provide shade when you are weary. During those times, God can provide in creative, innovative ways. He can provide something out of nothing. Doesn’t that give you great hope? Even when you can’t answer how He will do it, He is creative enough to figure it out even when the odds are stacked against you.

“That they may see and recognize, And consider and gain insight as well, That the hand of the Lord has done this, And the Holy One of Israel has created it.” (Isaiah 41:20 NASB).

God will do all of this so that His glory will be put on display. People — including yourself — will see that He is powerful.

So you can see how after a night of wrestling with fear and anxiety, reading this was like shade and water for my soul. God is a god who sees. And God is a god who acts on your behalf.

What do you need His help with today? What are you fearful about today? What keeps you awake at night? Where do you need some shade?

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone
Continue Reading

Become An Insider!

Enter your email address below to stay in the loop on the latest from Ungrind.

Welcome to Ungrind!



Hi, I'm Ashleigh Slater, founder and editor of Ungrind. Here at Ungrind, it’s our goal to churn out biblically-based encouragement for women. We strive to be honest and transparent about our struggles in a way that inspires hope, faith, and perseverance.

As you read, we hope you consider us friends, the kind you feel comfortable sitting across the table with at the local coffee shop. You can read more about me HERE and our team of writers HERE.

Latest Articles

What Women Are Saying

"Thank you for having me as your guest... Awesome design, awesome content, awesome website!!!"

-- Darlene Schacht, author of Messy Beautiful Love: Hope and Redemption for Real-Life Marriages and co-author of Reshaping it All: Motivation for Spiritual and Physical Fitness
COL_TeamUs_BannerAd

Five-Minute-Friday---4

familydevotional

Disclosure

We are a member of the Amazon affiliate program and regularly use affiliate links. If you purchase an item from an Amazon link we provide, we will receive a small referral commission. This doesn’t cost you anything additional. We only share books, music, and products that our writers personally have used and highly recommend.

Trending

Ordinary Miracles

by Serenity Bohon time to read: 5 min
0